Chris Bachelder is the author of four novels, including The Throwback Special, which won the Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Dayswork, a novel written collaboratively with Jennifer Habel, will be published in the fall of 2023. He teaches at the University of Cincinnati.
Works by Venita Blackburn have appeared in the newyorker.com, Harper’s, Ploughshares, McSweeney’s, the Paris Review and others. She received the Prairie Schooner book prize in fiction for her collected stories, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, in 2017. She is founder of the literary nonprofit Live, Write (livewriteworkshop.com), which provides free creative writing workshops for communities of color. Blackburn’s second collection of stories, How to Wrestle a Girl, was published in 2021. She is an Assistant Professor of creative writing at California State University, Fresno.
Kirstin Chen is the New York Times best-selling author of three novels. Her latest, Counterfeit, is a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, a Roxane Gay book club pick, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. It has been translated into seven languages and is being adapted for television by Sony Pictures. Her previous two novels are Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners.
Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of the national bestsellers A River of Stars and Forbidden City, as well as Deceit and Other Possibilities, a NYT Editors Pick. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, she has also received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and a Steinbeck Fellowship, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. She’s appeared in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and taught at Warren Wilson MFA Program and elsewhere.
Holly Goddard Jones
Holly Goddard Jones is the author of four books: Antipodes: Stories (Iowa 2022), The Salt Line (Putnam 2017), The Next Time You See Me (Touchstone 2013), and Girl Trouble (Harper Perennial 2009). She teaches in the MFA program at UNC Greensboro.
Michael Knight is the author of three novels, three collections of short stories, and a book of novellas. His fiction has appeared in places like Narrative, The New Yorker, Oxford American, Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Sewanee Review and has been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. He is the recipient of a Special Citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation (1999), the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction (2013), and the Truman Capote Prize (2018). He directs the creative writing program at the University of Tennessee.
Leigh Newman’s debut collection Nobody Gets Out Alive (Scribner, 2022) was long listed for the National Book Award for Fiction. Her stories have appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories, One Story, Tin House, Electric Literature, American Short Fiction and McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. Her memoir about growing up in Alaska, Still Points North was a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle’s John Leonard prize. In 2020, she was awarded a Pushcart prize and an American Society of Magazine Editor’s prize, as well as the Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize for “humor, wit, and sprezzatura.”
Kirstin Valdez Quade
Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of The Five Wounds, which is currently shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and is longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize. Her story collection, Night at the Fiestas, won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. It was named a New York Times Notable Book and a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association. Kirstin is the recipient of the John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, and a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor at Princeton.
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, a New York Times Editor’s Choice. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. Ruffin is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Iowa Review Award in fiction. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.
Stephanie Powell Watts
Stephanie Powell Watts won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her debut story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need, also named one of 2013’s Best Summer Reads by O: The Oprah Magazine. Her short fiction has been included in two volumes of the Best New Stories from the South anthology and honored with a Pushcart Prize. Her debut novel, No One Is Coming to Save Us, follows the return of a successful native son to his home in North Carolina and his attempt to join the only family he ever wanted but never had. Born in the foothills of North Carolina, with a PhD from the University of Missouri and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she is an associate professor at Lehigh University.
Eduardo C. Corral
Eduardo C. Corral is the author of Guillotine and Slow Lightning, which won the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. He teaches in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.
Camille T. Dungy is the author of four collections of poetry, including Trophic Cascade, winner of the Colorado Book Award. She’s also written Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden and Guidebook to Relative Strangers, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dungy edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry and co-edited the From the Fishouse poetry anthology. She is the poetry editor for Orion magazine. A University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, Dungy’s honors include the 2021 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Book Award, and fellowships from the NEA.
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of two award-winning poetry collections, Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf) and Seam (SIU). Her writing has appeared widely in periodicals and magazines in the US and abroad and has been displayed at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere. Tarfia’s writing is translated into Spanish, Bengali, Persian, Chinese, Tamil, and other languages. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Bangladeshi immigrants and raised in Texas, Faizullah currently lives in Dallas.
Nate Marshall is an award-winning writer, editor, educator, and MC. His most recent book, Finna, was recognized as one of the best books of 2020 by NPR and The New York Public Library. His first book, Wild Hundreds, was honored with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s award for Poetry Book of the Year and The Great Lakes College Association’s New Writer Award. He was also an editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Marshall co-wrote the play No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks with Eve Ewing. He also wrote the audio drama Bruh Rabbit & The Fantastic Telling of Remington Ellis, Esq., which was produced by Make-Believe Association. Marshall records hip-hop as a solo artist and with the group Daily Lyrical Product. He is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Poetry Foundation, and The University of Michigan.
A. E. Stallings
A. E. Stallings is a US-born poet and translator who lives in Greece. She has published four volumes of poetry, most recently Like, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and a selected poems, This Afterlife, recently out from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She has also published three volumes of verse translation, including Lucretius' The Nature of Things (Penguin Classics) and an illustrated psuedo-Homeric The Battle Between the Frogs and the Mice (Paul Dry Books). She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, United States Artists, and MacArthur Foundations, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Caki Wilkinson is the author of three poetry collections: The Survival Expo, The Wynona Stone Poems, and Circles Where the Head Should Be. She is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, the Vassar Miller Prize, the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award from Persea Books, and a Tennessee Arts Commission Fellowship. Poems from The Survival Expo appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Kenyon Review, Yale Review and other magazines. She lives in Memphis and is an associate professor of English at Rhodes College.
Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection How To Write An Autobiographical Novel. A 2021 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2021 United Artists Fellow, he is previously a recipient of the Whiting Award and a NEA Fellowship in Prose, as well as residencies from MacDowell, Civitella Ranieri and the VCCA. A contributing editor for The New Republic and an editor at large for VQR, his stories and essays have appeared recently in T Magazine, Harpers, and Harper's Bazaar. He was the guest editor for Best American Essays 2022. He teaches as a full professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.
Jaquira Díaz is the author of Ordinary Girls, winner of a Whiting Award, a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal, a Lambda Literary Awards finalist, an American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce Selection, an Indie Next Pick, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Notable Selection. Ordinary Girls was optioned for television and is currently in development at FX with Díaz as Co-Executive Producer. She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian, Time Magazine, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and at Randolph College’s low-residency MFA program.
Lacy M. Johnson
Lacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based professor, curator, activist, and is the author of the essay collection The Reckonings, the widely-acclaimed memoir The Other Side, and Trespasses, and is editor, with the graphic designer Cheryl Beckett, of More City Than Water: A Houston Flood Atlas. She teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University and is Founding Director of the Houston Flood Museum.
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Aisha Sabatini Sloan is the author of The Fluency of Light, Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, Borealis, and, with her father, the image + text collaboration, Captioning the Archives. The recipient of a CLMP Firecraker award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a National Magazine Award, a Lambda Literary award, and a Jean Córdova award for Queer Nonfiction, she is an assistant professor of English at the University of Michigan.
David Adjmi writes theatre, film and nonfiction. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim and a Whiting Award. His new play, Stereophonic, is scheduled to premiere on Broadway next season. David’s memoir Lot Six is published by HarperCollins, and two play collections, Stunning and Other Plays and 1789/1978: Marie Antoinette and 3C, are published by TCG.
Brittany K. Allen
Brittany K. Allen (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based writer and actor. Her plays include Redwood, Ball Change, and The Joy of Painting. Her plays have been staged and developed at Portland Center Stage, Jungle Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, The Public, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Studio Theatre, and KC Rep, among other places, and she currently holds commissions from Playwrights Horizons and Clubbed Thumb. Recognitions include the Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, the Dramatists Guild Foundation Comedic Playwriting Prize, and a Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellowship. She is a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, where she teaches on faculty. And her writing has been supported by a MacDowell fellowship, and scholarships to Bread Loaf and this very conference. Some of that writing is published; in The Kilroys’ List (Volume One), McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Epiphany, and elsewhere.
Talene Monahon’s plays include The Good John Proctor (Bedlam Theater Company), Jane Anger (New Ohio, Shakespeare Theater of DC; 2022 Off-Broadway Alliance Best New Play Nominee), How to Load a Musket (Less than Rent; TheaterMania’s “The 10 Best Theater Productions of 2020”), Frankie & Will (MCC), and All in Good Fun (Peterborough Players). Her work has been developed by NYSAF, Bedlam Theater, Red Bull Theater, Cape Cod Theater Project, and Northern Stage. Her writing has been published by Stage Rights, The Cincinnati Review, and McSweeneys. As an actor, Talene’s credits include productions at Roundabout Theater Company, Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons, the Atlantic, MCC, New Georges, Encores!, Red Bull, La Jolla Playhouse, and Partial Comfort, as well as selected film and television. B.A. Senior Fellow, Dartmouth College.
Dan O’Brien’s plays include The Body of an American, The House in Scarsdale, and many others. Recognition for his work includes a Guggenheim Fellowship, two PEN America Awards, the Horton Foote Prize, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize, and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award. He is also an essayist and an award-winning poet. In 2021, he published Our Cancers: A Chronicle in Poems (Acre Books) and A Story That Happens: On Playwriting, Childhood, & Other Traumas (Dalkey Archive Press, US / CB Editions, UK).